Certified court reporters provide a valuable service to the courts. If you currently work as or want to be a certified court reporter, you already likely know the importance of this field to everyday operations of government agencies. Whether working on the local, state, or federal level, reporters are vital to the court system running smoothly and justly.
No matter what type of agency or government you work for, a good reporter holds certain character traits that ensure they will do their job well. They may naturally have these attributes or work on cultivating them– either way, there are certain traits all good reporters share. Read on to find out this list of traits and see what you’re doing right and where you could put a little more effort in to truly be your best.
Focus, Performance, and Professionalism
All of these traits are extremely important when it comes to court reporting. Focus is important because reporters need to accurately take down what they are hearing but also sort through conflicting voices and ask for clarity for the transcription. They must be able to perform and also do their job professionally. This involves doing your job well, showing up for work awake and presentable, and organizing your life so that you are there early (not on time) and ready to do your job without error.
A good reporter is there to take down the events of what happened and what was said. To this end, reserving judgment is an extremely important trait to have. Getting emotionally invested is not what you are hired for, so if you do find yourself judging, you are not devoting 100% of your attention to the job. It’s necessary that any reporter be focused more on transcription, not putting their energy into the case.
We mentioned this before as part of being professional, but it bears stating again: be early! A good reporter always has their outfit prepared and their breakfast sorted out with their equipment prepared and leaves far earlier than they need to. You should be at least 20 minutes early and always leave extra time for travel so that traffic impairments or surprise shut downs do not mean you are going to be late. Leave yourself that buffer room and get there early– always!
The Ability to Maintain Confidentiality
A good reporter has no interest in gossiping and keeps what happens in the court room and the cases to themselves. Never discuss cases with outside individuals– it’s unprofessional and will likely get you fired.
Having Composure at All Times
You may find yourself in a case that is disturbing, with graphic testimony or media. It’s your job to stay composed at all times and simply record the proceedings. Part of this can involve preparing yourself mentally to stay neutral and do your job at all times. This is where avoiding judgment can also help you– it’s tougher to be ruffled if you keep yourself from getting emotionally involved as much as you can.
Develop these traits and cultivate them where you can. The more effort you put into showing these traits, the more you will succeed in your field and be able to progress in your professional life. Take them seriously and you will have nowhere to go in your job but up!